Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 3, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
42 LETHBR'DGE HERALD Wednesday, October 3, 1973 Snappy cracks sometimes backfire in Commons Her.ikl Ottawa Bureau virnw MACKIK OTTAWA A quick quip is ,1 templing way lor ministers to reply to questions when they are under fire in the House of Commons. But such verbal ciack can backfire with consequences. Siu-h i-nuld well be the reac- t.on tmtii Transport Minister Joan Marchand's snapped re- toit to Newfoundlanders locentK m the House. They were ueii.aii'ii.'ig better links with m iinland "Why don't you learn to swim1'" he said in ex- asperation. It could go down in political history with prime minister W. L. Mackenzie King's blurt: "Not a five cent piece." "What's a million" was an- other classic It was uttered by trade and commerce minister C. U. Howe, under pressure. Both those snappy retorts returned to haunt the Liberal party in subsequent election campaigns. Mackenzie King and Clarence Decatur Howe otten wished they had kept their mouths shut. King learned from that bitter experience and used to admonish young Liberals when they entered Parliament: "Keep your mouth shut and you won't get into trouble." Howe pro- tested that his comment had been taken out ot context. But no matter how much he tried to explain the "What's a million" comment dogged him lor the rest of his political career The "not a five cent piece" words attributed to Mr. King were a condensation, for political campaign purposes, ot a lengthy involved sentence in which the then prime minister was snappishly declaring his Liberal govern- ment would not provide relief assistance in federal funds for Tory Toronto. The "what's a million" crack was also a condensation ot Mr. Howe's retort to a Conservative critic in the House who had proposed ieduction-, in expenditure by the government Both made excellent cam- paign slogans use'! by the Tories against the Grits Alter a particularly stormy scene in the Commons the week it rose lo resume the tall n-ccss. the Conservatives were r.i t u la t ing themselves Thev had scored against the govern- ment ;.nd in their view gained ammunition to be used effec- tively against the Liberals in the Maritime provinces, par- ticularly Newfoundland. Don't be surprised it red plastic wa- ter-wings with Marchand's words printed on them are cir- culated there. The Tory assault led by three Newfoundland members had the cabinet on the defen- sive The Conservatives took the offensive over what they claimed were inadequate measures launched by the government and the Canadian National Railways to clear up the backlog of freight cars in North Sydney destined for The backlog accumulated because of the shut down in the ferry service. The Tory triumvirate leading the attack were John Lundrigan (Gander- James McGrath (St. John's East) and Walter Carter (St. John's Transport Minister Marchand was the minister they zeroed in on and finally Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau jumped in to his defence, but he too made Sears OFF Fine English bone china It happens twice a year! Your chance to collect this exquisite dinnerware by Royal Albert piece by piece or in sets at delightful savings! Bone china with a whiteness, translucency and delicate beauty that belies its amazing strength and durability. A very practical approach to gracious living. 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It was a demonstration of how when a government has been under fire for some time and the heat has been turned up high in the House, ministers can make statements that can be damaging on the hustings. The battle raged during the question period for two days. The first day Marchand prom- ised to get answers to the bitter complaints voiced by the Newfoundlanders. He said somewhat wearily that he did not know if any more ships were avalable to help move the backlog. 'What about the Bonaven- jibed Gordon Fair- STORE HOURS: Open Daily from a.m. to p.m. Thursday and Friday a.m. to p.m. Cciit-e Village Mall, Telephone 328-9231 JEAN MARCHAND weather a Conservative from New Brunswick who sits on the front benches of the of- ficial opposition. He is direct- ly across from the minister and his jibe hit home (The Bonaventure was the ill-fated aircraft carrier scrapped by the government after it spent millions on an Other Maritime members at the time were shouting interjections about the need for links between the mainland and the island provinces. So loud was the hubbub that Speaker Lucien Lamoureux intervened to try and restore some semblance of order. He suggested the "noise and fury" were not conducive to a "happy and fruitful" question understatement. Opposition MP's from New- foundland were not quietened by such admonitions and continued to shout for more action from the government. It prompted the snappish retort from the minister "Why don't you learn to Afterwards outside the House Lundrigan was inter- viewed by members of the media. He went on national televisvon and denounced Marchand's retort as "typical" of the Liberal government's regard for the problems of Newfoundland. Clearly he and others from the island province will use this new ammunition against the Grits STORM BREAKS The next day the storm broke afresh in the Commons. Newfie members emotionally likened it later to gale-tossed waves breaking over the rugg- ed coast of the island. Desperately Mr. Speaker tried in vain to maintain order and decorum. But parliamen- tary niceties took second place to the needs of New- foundland shouted Lundrigan. The opposition was angered because Marchand had con- tended that the backlog was rapidly being cleared up. e quoted unnamed CNR of- ficials. The Tories quoted back at him a public relations officer from the CNR who said there would be a backlog until after the New Year. The prime minister got in- volved. He protested that it was not his government that was to blame for the backlog, it was the ferry workers who had refused to keep the ferries operating "Blame the shouted opposition MP's. Finally Mr. Trudeau seek- ing to restore order and reason .said that the freedom of people to work or not to work "applies even to New- foundlanders. It was an unfortunate choice of words and they too will be heard repeated in the relatively new province. New Alberta judge named KDMONTON (CP) Ap- pointment of Hruco Douglas Patterson. 45. of Edmonton as provincial judge for the Grande Prairie area was an- nounced by Attorney-General Merv Lei ten. Mr. Palterson. who receiv- ed his law degree from the I'nivorsity of Alberta in 1953, currently is a member of the board ol rovirw headed by Mr. .Justice S.nmiel S. Liebcrman which is concerned with those persons in mental institutions.